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Ask a Trooper: Winter issues

Question: Can pickups drive with snowplow blades attached all the time? Also, when we go up to the cabin, we will attach a sled to the back of our SUV and go out on hardly-used local roads. Is this illegal?

Answers: As long as we still have snow on the ground I will respond to these questions. The snow removal blades you see attached to pickups are allowed, but are not to exceed 102 inches [M.S.S. 169.80 Sub. 2] in width, unless they have applied for and received an annual permit. With the permit, they can go up to, but not exceed, 10 feet, 120 inches [M.S.S. 169.86 Sub. 1b], between Oct. 1 and April 1 each year.

We all share the road with necessary vehicles of all shapes and sizes, as well as with pedestrians and bicyclist. The key is being aware of each other, and working/driving with mutual respect.

As far as the sled hitching question, it is illegal, and this is one of the shortest laws in traffic safety code.

M.S.S. 169.46 says, “No person shall hitch a toboggan, hand sled, bicycle, or other similar device onto any motor vehicle or streetcar while being used on a highway.”

Don’t get confused by the use of “highway”. The chapter the law is in defines highway as “... the entire width between boundary lines of any way or place when any part thereof is open the use of the public ... for the purpose of vehicular traffic.”

I want to mention it is a very dangerous practice and it is strongly discouraged.